Archive for the ‘Army Times’ Category

Soldier’s story: Hidden cost of 15 minutes’ fame

July 14, 2008

[Army medic Joseph Dwyer: Did this photo figure in his death?]

Former Gannett Army Times photographer Warren Zinn wonders whether his high-profile photo of an Army medic rescuing a 4-year-old Iraqi boy contributed to that soldier’s untimely death in June. The 2003 photo was “splashed across newspapers worldwide,” bringing the soldier instant fame, Zinn writes in yesterday’s Washington Post. “And for years, I’d proudly displayed the front page of USA Today featuring the photo. It was a tremendous accomplishment for me; I was only 25 when I took it. Now, though, the picture was suffused with a different meaning. Joseph Dwyer was dead of a substance overdose at 31.”

Zinn’s piece recalls one I wrote for USA Today with Charisse Jones — a story prompted by the suicide of a surveyor credited with finding nine trapped Pennsylvania coal miners in 2002. Bob Long‘s death, we wrote, illustrated a disturbing trend that emerged after tragedies including the Oklahoma City bombing, Sept. 11, and the 1987 rescue (inset, left) of baby Jessica McClure from a Texas well shaft. “Some of those intimately involved in storied rescue efforts — men and women lauded as heroes — have committed suicide,” our story said. “Experts, citing causes from post-traumatic stress to the destructive power of sudden fame, worry more such deaths will follow.”

Related: Death on the CNN curve — the aftermath of McClure’s rescue

Noteworthy: Army Times is part of Gannett’s Army Times Publishing Co. in Springfield, Va.

A journalist’s responsibility?
A public school official killed himself as I was researching his possible financial misdeeds, when I was an investigative reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky. I did not feel responsible for his death. Would you?

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